1Jul

The number of Spanish players in major European competitions increased threefold in the last decade

Cesc Fábregas, Ander Herrera, César Azpilicueta, Santi Cazorla…English squads are full of Spanish names!

This trend increased significantly during the last 10 years, probably the best decade for Spanish football in history. In this period, the national team won two European Championships (2008 and 2012) and one World Cup (2010).

Until 2008, most Spanish footballers playing abroad were in the Premier League, but after the international successes, other leagues joined this trend, particularly Italian Serie A. Still, Premier League kept its position as main destination.

Spanish players in major leagues

As you can see in the chart above, back in season 2005/2006 there were 20 Spaniards playing in other major European leagues and last season, the figure reached 65. That’s a 225% increase!

But what are the reasons behind this increase? Is it just a general improvement in the quality of footballers or is there something else? Spanish sports journalist, Jorge Lema, suggested me that in the Spanish league there are just a few teams investing a high amount of money in transfers, and in other European competitions it’s a little bit more balanced.

I checked the data for both La Liga and the Premier League and he is quite right. If we analyse the 10% teams (that’s 2 teams) that spent the most in each season, we see that in Spain they represent a higher proportion of the total expenditure than in the Premier League.

In practical terms, this means that in Spain there are less teams willing to invest big amounts of money in top players (basically Real Madrid and Barcelona and sometimes Atlético or Valencia). In comparison, there are more squads with expensive players in England (Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City…). This might be a reason why so many Spaniards are looking for alternatives in other competitions. What do you think?

Percentage of the total expenditure in transfers made by the top 2 teams

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